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Chalchuapa, Battle of

Chalchuapa, Battle of

Battle of Chalchuapa. On 28 February 1885, the president of Guatemala, Justo Rufino Barrios, issued a declaration calling for the establishment of a Central American Union. As the self-proclaimed supreme military commander of Central America, Barrios asked each of the Central American states (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Guatemala) to recognize the union and to send delegates to Guatemala City to create the institutions of the new government.

The governments of Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador opposed the union immediately. As a result, on 31 March 1885, Barrios initiated a military campaign against El Salvador to crush the resistance of Salvadoran president Rafael Zaldívar. Two days later, on 2 April 1885, Barrios was killed in battle and the Guatemalan army was soundly defeated at Chalchuapa, El Salvador. Following the defeat, the Guatemalan forces dispersed and the war with El Salvador came to a rapid conclusion. In subsequent weeks, Barrios's proclamation recognizing the creation of the Central American Union was revoked and his dream of unity thwarted.

See alsoBarrios, Justo Rufino .


Thomas L. Karnes, The Failure of Union, Central America, 1824–1960 (1961), pp. 152-162.

Additional Bibliography

Leiva Vivas, Rafael. La unión centroamericana: Utopía, lirismo y desafío. Tegucigalpa: ENAG, Empresa Nacional Artes Gráficas, 2004.

Yashar, Deborah J. Demanding Democracy: Reform and Reaction in Costa Rica and Guatemala, 1870s–1950s. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1997.

                                        Wade A. Kit

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